FIFA president Sepp Blatter is not involved in major corruption probes launched into world football’s governing body and a presidential vote will go ahead Friday, his spokesman said.
FIFA has been rocked by the arrest of several top officials as part of a Swiss and US corruption investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar and into bribe taking for sports contracts.
Blatter is “relaxed” about the fallout from the controversy, his spokesman Walter de Gregorio told a press conference at FIFA headquarters.
“The general secretary and the president are not involved in this,” De Gregorio said, referring to Blatter and FIFA secretary general secretary Jerome Valcke.
“He isn’t dancing in his office — (not) this kind of relaxing. He is very very calm, he sees what happens. He is fully cooperative with everybody.”
De Gregorio insisted that FIFA wanted the full truth to come out and that the US and Swiss investigations would help the body in its cleanup.
The spokesman said FIFA’s congress would start as scheduled on Thursday and that the vote for the body’s president would be held Friday.
De Gregorio said that for the moment there was no plan to review holding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar.
The announcements followed the dawn arrests of several top football officials in a Zurich hotel as part of a US investigation into bribe taking. Two FIFA vice presidents were among those detained and now facing extradition to the United States.
Separately, Swiss police raided the FIFA headquarters as part of a probe into the votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. FIFA initiated the police inquiry in November after widespread accusations of corruption.
The US Justice Department, meanwhile, unsealed an indictment against nine FIFA officials and five executives, charging them with conspiracy and corruption over a 24-year span.
The Department of Justice said it unsealed the indictment as officials raided the CONCACAF soccer organization headquarters in Miami as part of the case.
“It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in the Justice Department statement.